Friday, 12 February 2010

Friday Thrupp to Lower Heyford

Last night we decided to eat in The Jolly Boatman as it is now under new management. It was quite busy for a Thursday evening and by the time we ordered several things were off the menu, including the specials, which is a good sign as it shows its not just an endless supply of frozen dishes. We both decided to have shoulder of lamb, what were not expecting was a whole shoulder each, there was a huge amount of meat. We met the crews of Narrowboats Bones,Milly M and Oakfield in the bar and had a few drinks and an interesting chat both before and after our meal. We returned to Harnser  at about 11 pm by which time the canal was completely frozen over with a temperature just below -2 so we were a bit concerned what we would find this morning.
I looked out this morning to find a lot of last nights ice had already gone and what was left was very thin and didn't cause us any problem. We left about twenty past ten with Diana steering so I could open the lift bridges. I heard last night that BW plan to automate the bridge before Easter, I wonder which side they will put the controls as the towing path changes side on the bridge. I also worked the Shipton lift bridge although that is now a lot easier than it was a month ago. BW have now installed rings to fasten the bridges open, unfortunately they have mounted the rings in concrete directly under the bridge arms, so once you have opened the bridge the ring is covered by the bridge arm about a foot from the end of the arm, so you cant get to it to fix the bridge open. I think they must have lined it up with a plum bob while the bridge was closed. All the locks except one were with us today and of course we had to punch the flow on the Cherwell, it was still in the yellow but had very little effect on us. Just before Lower Heyford we met to hire boats on their way out for half term week. The started at Lower Heyford and chatting to the chap that had been instructing one of them I found out they have 9 boats out this week so maybe business is looking good for them this season. We filled with water just before the Lower Heyford Wharf and then made our way past the wharf to moor for the night opposite the church at about half two.

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